Samsung Galaxy Note 9 was launched last week as an iterative update to last year’s Galaxy Note 8. It features Samsung’s metal and glass sandwich design and latest hardware, improved S-Pen, larger battery and repositioned fingerprint sensor. However, it lacks key innovation seen even on Chinese smartphones like the in-display fingerprint sensor and 3D facial recognition technology.
While Samsung hasn’t revealed its plans to introduce these new features on its smartphones, a report suggests it might appear on the new generation Galaxy S flagship. The South Korean smartphone maker is said to be developing an ultrasonic fingerprint sensing system that will work even when placed under the display. Patently Mobile had initially reported that the sensor is being engineered under the display division of the company.
The US Patent and Trademark Office, on Thursday, published details of a patent from Samsung that uncovers some information about an in-display fingerprint sensor system. The patent comes on the heels of a report from Digitimes which said that global shipments of in-display fingerprint sensors will top 42 million units this year.
The patent details how Samsung plans to control a fingerprint sensor to obtain a user’s fingerprint in an electronic device. The patent reveals Samsung’s plan to use one or multiple ultrasonic sensors underneath the display to obtain the fingerprint data. The patent application explains that Samsung will use at least one fingerprint sensor as part of the touch screen while a processor could be electrically coupled to the touchscreen or at least one fingerprint sensor.
Samsung plans to program the processing unit to control the touchscreen to display one or more graphic objects. It will be able to detect information that can be attributed to at least one graphic object associated with the fingerprint sensor. Once attributed, an area of the fingerprint sensor corresponding to the graphic object will be activated and then acquire fingerprint information.
This processor could be part of the main motherboard and will be capable of determining an optimized area for scanning a user’s fingerprint. Samsung’s idea seems far more robust that what we have seen on devices from brands like Vivo. The technology could also be faster but it is not clear how fast an in-display fingerprint sensor could be when compared to a traditional sensor.
Watch: Samsung Galaxy Note 9 First Look Video
As Patently Mobile observes, Samsung even mentions use of as many as four sensors to record user’s fingerprint information. With smartphone bezels shrinking and devices getting smaller in dimension, companies have been looking for new ways to incorporate the fingerprint sensor.
While in-display fingerprint sensors are already seen on smartphones from brands like Vivo and Xiaomi, it is yet to become mainstream. The mass adoption of the technology is expected next year and Samsung’s patents might translate into final product with the launch of Galaxy S10 at MWC 2019.